With a final grant made in October 2021 – bringing the total to $101,000 given to local nonprofits over 5 years – the Yampa Valley Community Foundation has wrapped up its Nonprofit Endowment Building Incentive Program. The Foundation has long supported nonprofit organizations and, paired with YVCF’s endowment-building tools and training, this partial match initiative was an additional boost of encouragement for creating long-term financial stability. Nonprofits were encouraged to use YVCF’s Endowment Building Toolkit and work with existing and potential donors to open an endowment or increase their current endowment, with the goal to eventually exceed a fund balance of $100,000. With the Incentive, YVCF matched 25 cents for every dollar donated to a nonprofit’s endowment fund held at the Foundation, up to $10,000. Endowment funds are invested in a long-term pool by YVCF’s professional investment manager, and the gains create a source of regular ongoing funding for the nonprofits.
Seventeen nonprofits participated in the Incentive Program, eight of which raised over $40,000 for their endowments and received the full $10,000 match from YVCF. Former Executive Director of Routt County Council on Aging Meg Tully recalls, “YVCF’s Endowment Building Toolkit and Incentive Match Program gave us the motivation to open an endowment and the tools to inspire our donors to contribute. The organization is now well on its way to having a stable source of funding to carry it through hard times.”
Five of the nonprofits that participated in the Incentive Program had previously established endowment funds but for which, for a variety of reasons, fundraising had slowed. The South Routt Education Endowment (SREE) was established in 2011 to be a permanent, discretionary source of funding for the South Routt School District but had gained only moderate fundraising traction by the time they joined the Incentive Program in 2017. After receiving a shot of momentum from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation program, SREE raised $65,650 and received the full $10,000 incentive match in three years to bring their fund balance to over $159,000 by the end of 2019. Fund Advisor Sara Redmond says, “Donors appreciated knowing that their contributions would be partially matched, which helped us re-launch our fundraising efforts and gave significant new life to the endowment.” SREE continues to utilize strategies from the Endowment Toolkit and grow their fund for the benefit of all students in South Routt.
YVCF’s Endowment Building Campaign was designed to bring awareness among nonprofit organizations and donors to the value of endowment funds and legacy giving. Many of the nonprofits who participated in the program established deeper relationships with their supporters which have resulted in planned gifts to their endowments. The Incentive match was funded with YVCF budget reserves and was an explicit choice to invest in nonprofits in the community. YVCF Finance Director Karen O’Connor says, “When YVCF staff presented the idea to the Board of Trustees in late 2016, they did not hesitate to approve the program and fund it with our organization’s reserves.” Supporting nonprofits in the Yampa Valley is the foundation on which YVCF is built, and the Endowment Incentive Program provided one more powerful and effective tool to help sustain their operations now and into the future.
The nonprofit endowment funds that participated in the Endowment Building Incentive are:
Advocates of Routt County
Community Agriculture Alliance
David Berolzheimer Foundation Endowment to Benefit Steamboat Creates
EOS (Everything Outdoors Steamboat; for Steamboat Springs School District)
Friends of Wilderness
Historic Routt County
Oak Creek Mountain Park
Old Town Hot Springs
Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
Routt County Council on Aging
Routt County Riders
South Routt Education Endowment
Steamboat Art Museum
Susan Mizen Legacy Endowment (for Horizons Specialized Services)
Tread of Pioneers Museum
Yampa Valley Sustainability Council
The Yampa Valley Community Foundation (YVCF) recently awarded over $466,000 through its Community Grants Cycle to support Animals, Arts & Culture, Health & Human Services, Education, Recreation, and Environmental organizations in Routt and Moffat Counties. This is an increase of 65% in total dollars over last year’s grant cycle.
The annual grant cycle is an opportunity for YVCF to educate itself regarding current needs in the Yampa Valley. Grant proposals are researched and analyzed by a Grants Committee comprised of 20 community volunteers from Routt and Moffat Counties and YVCF Board of Trustees members.
“The success of our Community Grants program is a direct result of the hard work of the grants committee in reviewing and analyzing applications,” explained Helen Beall, Community Impact Manager at YVCF. “The committee is extremely knowledgeable about our nonprofits. They work diligently to ensure funding is allocated where it will have the greatest community benefit.”
Over the summer, the committee reviewed 74 applications and awarded grants to 72 organizations, funding an average of 91% of those organizations’ requests. In 2020, $281,780 was awarded to 61 organizations. Grants were allocated in the following sectors:
- 3% – Animals
- 16% – Arts & Culture
- 9% – Education
- 15% – Environment
- 47% – Health & Human Services
- 11% – Recreation
This year, YVCF allowed grant requests up to $7,500 for unrestricted purposes from nonprofits providing services in Routt and/or Moffat County. This is an increase from a maximum of $5,000 in previous years. This change reflected lessons learned during the pandemic, which reinforced the need for flexible funding allowing nonprofits to continue serving their clients while adapting their programming to tackle big community issues.
“We are proud to continue to provide and increase our community grants for general support,” said Tim Wohlgenant, Executive Director of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. “We firmly believe that our grant recipients are best equipped to decide how their grant awards should be spent.”
The total dollars granted significantly surpassed previous grant cycles, in great part because of YVCF’s partnerships with the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, Donor Advised Fund Holders, community donors, and other YVCF-managed Granting Endowments. “We are so grateful for the donors who generously supported this year’s Community Grants Cycle, and the trust they place in YVCF and the grants committee to be good stewards of their contributions,” said Traci Hiatt, Donor Engagement Manager at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. “This is effective philanthropy at its finest.”
For a complete list of nonprofits and organizations funded through the grant cycle visit: https://yvcf.org/non-profits/grants/
2021 Community Grants Committee: Rob Race, Carol Davidson, Mindy Falzarano, Karen Parks, Pam Williams, Carol (Shine) Atha, Suzy Sayle, Brian Harvey, Rod Morgan, Will Melton, Nicole Piret, Jeff Merage, Judy McGinnis, Andrea Camp, Audrey Danner
Financial Analysis Sub-Committee: PJ Wharton, Gretchen Donnan-Daley, Tom Krabacher, Mike Illenberger, Christopher Godfrey
The Yampa Valley Community Foundation is the primary source for philanthropic resources and education for both donors and nonprofit organizations in Northwest Colorado. We promote thoughtful, individualized charitable giving and create endowments that have meaningful impact in the Yampa Valley. In all that we do, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation operates with the highest integrity. We are the gold standard in client services and a trusted resource to the community. Our work is impeccable, impactful and transparent to those we serve.